Why is my acrylic paint transparent? Reasons with solutions 

Are you worried about your acrylic paints as they are losing their shine and failing continuously to gain the desired pigment intensity? You are not alone who is facing such issues as acrylic colors contain both opaque and transparent pigments that can be the cause of your problem.

This blog aims to provide a guide and solution to “Why is your acrylic paint transparent?”. 

Let’s start!

Your acrylic paint is transparent due to Pigment density, binder composition, dilution, and drying process.

Here are the reasons in a point-to-point form:

  • Density of pigment 
  • Binder composition 
  • Binder composition 
  • Dilution
  • Drying process

Table of Contents

Pigment Density

The reason for the transparent acrylic paint is the density and the size of the pigments that are present in the paint. Acrylic paint is transparent because it contains low density with pigments that allow light to pass easily.

If you are facing the issue of pigment density then try to learn about the common acrylic paints that are transparent in nature. Some of the transparent acrylic paints have been given at the end of this blog.

Are you facing the issue of flakiness with acrylic paints? Learn why your acrylic paint is flaky? 

Binder composition

A binder is responsible for holding the pigment and other particles together. As acrylic paints are made by polymer emulsion they are transparent and clear in nature. The nature of binders also affects transparency. If your acrylic paints have strong polymer emulsion, then your acrylic paints will be more transparent in nature.


To thin down the acrylic paint, water is used as a major medium. The addition of extra water makes the acrylic paint thinner resulting in a transparent texture.

25% amount of water is enough to make it thicker according to the desired consistency but if you are adding more than 25% water, then this could be a reason behind the transparency of your acrylic paints.

Drying process

The drying process could cause transparency. Sometimes, beginners do not provide a proper time for the paint to dry which causes them to break in the paint but The drying process is also a part of the transparency. Sometimes not giving a proper time can cause a break in acrylic paint and some pigments show their original texture after drying. When their drying process cannot be completed the artist seals it completely. The paint becomes clear and transparent in that case.

Giving a proper drying time before applying every single layer could be helpful.

Learn why your acrylic paint not drying on plastic?


Here are some solutions for the transparency of acrylic paint.

  • Use opaque colors instead of transparent
  • Try to mix your colors with light colors as they are opaque
  • Use mediums to increase the opacity of your acrylic paints
  • Utilize your glazing technique
  • Try to change your pigments
  • Mix your pigments properly

First use high-quality acrylic paint that is better in pigmentation and for more solid coverage. Secondly, be careful about color choice use high opacity colors and try to mix light colors as well in your paints. Avoid mixing much water with the pigment.

Does adding water cause the acrylic paints to become transparent?

Yes, adding water causes the acrylic paint to become transparent. The addition of water changes the consistency of the paint to make it thinner and minimizes the opacity that allows the light to pass through. On the other hand, when less amount of water is used, pigment does not break down. In this way, light cannot pass through the paint which makes it less transparent.

While mixing paints, take care of the thinning. Don’t add much water to increase the fluidity because that will just increase the fluidity but destroy the transparency.

Interested in oil paints? Know a complete guide about oil paints.

Which acrylic paints are opaque?

  • Titanium White
  • Carbon Black
  • Cadmium Colors
  • Zinc White
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Naples Yellow
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Mars Black

Which acrylic paints are transparent?

  • Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Hansa Yellow
  • Transparent Red Iron Oxide
  • Phthalo Green
  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide
  • Quinacridone Burnt Orange
  • Indigo
  • Pyrrole Red

Check if you are using a pigment among this list, If yes then search for that pigment and learn about its working.


What does transparent acrylic paint mean?

Transparent acrylic paints are thinner, translucent, and less shiny in nature allowing the light to pass through them. Such types of paints are best for glazing techniques to create a detailed texture. Beginners often mix so much water in their paints and face the issue of transparency in their paints.
Some of the transparent acrylic paints include Pathalo Blue and Hansa Yellow.

What does opaque acrylic paint mean?

Opaque acrylic paints are shinier, thicker, and reflective paints that do not allow light to pass through them. These qualities make the paint high in pigment concentration, opacity, and coverage.
Some of the opaque acrylic paints include titanium white and carbon black.

Final Words

Your acrylic paint is transparent due to Pigment density, binder composition, pigment type, Dilution, drying process, and glazing technique. Some acrylic paints are truly made for glazing techniques to give extra details to the painting. Maybe you are using those transparent paints. We have also given a list above that represents the common transparent and acrylic paints. If your acrylic paint is opaque but still you are facing the same issue, try to decrease the amount of water that are using to mix the paint.

At last, avoid fast layering of paint over another layer without giving a proper time to dry for the previous layer. We hope this blog will be helpful in solving the issue of transparency in acrylic paints. If you are interested to read more please check the links below. Thanks!

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